Having had a strong finish to the season, the 8-2 Holtville Vikings enter the CIF playoffs hosting a quarter-final game against Mission Bay on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at Birger Field.
The Vikings’ stellar regular-season tally earned them a bye week for the first round of the playoffs following an Oct. 31 win against Calipatria in the season finale. But the team paid close attention that first week of CIF action and learned who they would face when Mission Bay emerged triumphant against San Ysidro on Nov. 8.
However, according to Coach Jason Turner there might have been more preparation among the team than Mission Bay might expect.
“It’s an honor to play in the quarterfinals of CIF football playoffs,” stated Turner, “especially at home.”
He added, “We were officially waiting for the results of the game on the 8th to see who we would play, but all along had an idea it would be Mission Bay, and luckily our hunch was right.”
Turner confirmed that even during the bye week the team as a whole brushed up on fundamentals, and even spent some time preparing for Mission Bay’s specific offense.
“Mission Bay plays in a much more challenging San Diego league,” said Turner. “They’re used to seeing top talents in their opponents. They have a new head coach this year and he has turned their team around, implementing a more spread offensive attack.”
They’ve been Preparing
The Vikings have been preparing for this offensive approach during their practice, and even focused on the specific players they’ll be facing.
“There’s lots of team speed present at Mission Bay,” revealed Turner. “There’s also a star senior receiver, Evan Augon, that we will need to make sure we contain. This team can put up points in a hurry.”
With a specific playstyle in mind, Turner has planned for containing the offense.
“I really think our defensive pass rush will be the key to slowing down their offense,” said Turner. “This approach will put a heavy burden of responsibility on Richie Garcia, Jonathan Heraz, and CJ Nunez.”
Going into CIF play has put the coaching staff into a reminiscent mood, as Turner recalled their performance, and lessons learned, from last year’s playoffs.
“We finished the 2018 season with a 9-3 record and made it to the CIF semi-final game, ultimately losing to the eventual DV CIF champion, Orange Glen,” he said. “We have spent the last year thinking about the lessons we learned in our final playoff game. Hopefully we can get it right this year.”
This story is featured in the Nov 14, 2019 e-Edition.